Welcome to Episode 77! Michael Sharkey is CEO & co-founder of Autopilot, the startup that allows you to automate customer journeys as simply as drawing on a whiteboard. Autopilot has funding from some of the best investors both in Australia and in SaaS with backing from the likes of Salesforce Ventures and Blackbird Ventures. Prior to founding Autopilot with his two brothers, Michael joined his brother Chris to grow start-up Stayz into a top Australian rental booking site which was acquired by FairFax Digital in 2006 and again by HomeAway for $225M in 2013. Michael also co-founded digital marketing agency Sharkey Media where he helped grow Australian startups. I would love to say a huge thank you to Matt Garratt @ Salesforce Ventures for the intro to Michael today.michael_sharkey

In today’s episode you will learn:
How did Michael come to co-found Autopilot with his two brothers? What was the a-ha moment for him?
Why did Michael choose a self service model with Autopilot? How does this model affect their CAC? How does this model alter the outbound marketing strategy?
How does Michael approach the dilemma of variable or fixed pricing? Has Michael found that the lack of reliability around variable pricing causes customers concern?
Why are we seeing many SaaS startups, Marketo and Eloqua, exiting with losses? What can founders do to adopt the unit economics first mindset? How does this attitude to unit economics affect attitudes to aggressive growth?
Michael focuses on 100% net retention. What does that process and strategy look like in practice? How does this commitment to 100% retention affect Michael’s management style and work processes?

60 Second SaaStr:
Biggest mentor to Michael and how it came about?
What does Michael know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
The biggest mistakes SaaS companies make with their email marketing processes?

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Jason Lemkin
Harry Stebbings
Michael Sharkey

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